I will be going to the AWARE EGM tomorrow, and I will be casting my vote in favour of the old Exco. No, not because I am emotionally invested in the organization – far from it, I never knew much about AWARE, never felt the old members reached out to me, or made any real impact in my life. But I will be showing up and voting anyway. Yes, I bothered to go online, sign up and pay the $40 membership fees. Why? Because the old AWARE stood for something I believe in, something that now appears to be in jeopardy – tolerance.

Yes, the old Exco was kinda apathetic. It was their weak constitution that got them into this mess to begin with. Yes, the new guard were legally voted in. And yes, there is merit in the call to allow these new people to do their jobs. But everything that’s happened since the takeover has reinforced my belief that “doing their jobs” would include a massive change in direction for AWARE. A change that would likely lead to the marginalization of gay men and women and the rapid erosion of the concepts of tolerance, diversity and equality for all.

The new Exco’s chief quibble with the old AWARE was over its so-called Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) Programme, and its neutral stance on homosexuality.

“I don’t want my children to say that oh, it’s all right to go and experiment with homosexuality, to experiment with anal sex, to experiment with virginity or the pill or even pre-marital sex.” – Maureen Ong, Honorary Secretary, AWARE

Maureen Ong’s statement is so warped on so many levels I won’t even begin to try and poke holes into her logic. Those who preach intolerance use fear as a tool to galvanize their supporters. For the rest of us, there is only reason.

Sign up. Turn up. Be counted. www.we-are-aware.sg.